Feb 3 2015

Il Baretto


Il Baretto (meaning a little bar in Italian) is a very nice Italian restaurant in Marylebone. It opened in 2009 and a few years ago had a refurbishment, and offers traditional and modern Italian dishes. You can also eat pizza at Il Barreto, which has been cooked in their open wood burning oven, and the pizza menu looked very appealing. The main chef is Luca Acquaviva.

The first time I went to Il Baretto  was many years ago, when it just opened. I loved it, and thought it was one of the nicest Italian restaurants in London. I still think it is a very good Italian restaurant with a lot of positives. The restaurant has an upstairs dining area, and a downstairs area, which is more secluded and more fun and romantic. If you are looking for good food and a casual, warm environment, few Italian places do it better than Il Baretto. My dinner buddy Sebastian was telling me that they show football upstairs, and he loves coming here on a weekend and eating and watching football.

I loved so many things from the menu, they had various burratas, charcuterie, tartares, salads, carpacci and soups for starter. I had huge problems choosing what I wanted, as I wanted to eat about 10 of their starters, and next time I come here I want to share the food, so I can try more of what they have to offer. In the end I settled for the boring but healthy option – “baby vegetable and baby pesto salad”, and a slightly naughty thing as we did not get any bread to start with – “bruschetta: tomatoes & goat cheese”. In general I thought the bread was slightly too thick for the bruschetta and it was quite difficult to eat, I loved the tomatoes and there was not too much of goats cheese there, which is not a bad thing. The baby vegetables were nicely and thinly cut, although lacked a bit of dressing and flavour. The dish looked pretty and would have been better as a side, as opposed to an outright starter, My dinner buddy Sebastian ordered the “soup of beans, chick peas and spelt with rosemary oil”, and he thought it was ok.

The main course dish that attracted my attention was the “baked sea bass in a salt crust with herbs”, as it only cost £31.5, which I think is a good price for this dish. You obviously don’t get wild sea bass and get farmed, but this dish can cost more than £60 in some other restaurants. Initially I wanted to have pasta, but strangely none of the pastas from the 7 offered on the menu really struck my fancy, they were all a bit too vegetarian (or with fish), and apart from the lasagne there was no pasta with meat, which is what I like. The sea bass turned out to be very good, just like salt baked sea bass should be, with that slightly salty flavour and with the very moist fish. The only problem was that they had left some of the salt crust in the fish on my plate, when they served me the fish, and by mistake I bit into a very very salty piece of fish (there was only a small amount of this horrendous salt in my food), which took my breath away, as you feel like you are eating pure salt. It was not pleasant, to put it mildly.

Sebastian ordered the grilled lamb chops from the robata grill (you could have a variety of meats and fish cooked in the robata grill). The lamb chops had quite a strong lamb flavour to them, more than usual, but were nicely cooked pink. We also ordered three sides, broccoli with garlic oil and chilli, sautéed spinach and mashed potato. I loved the mashed potato, it was silky smooth, nicely seasoned. I thought the spinach and the broccoli (despite the chilli and garlic) were bland and under-seasoned. I had to add salt to both of them. Sebastian on the other hand does not like salt as it is unhealthy and loved the crunchy broccoli the way they were. The chilli in the broccoli was very mild, barely there, and there was not really a hint of garlic there.

I had a very pleasant meal at Il Baretto, and especially loved the choice of dishes on their menu, with all the Italian dishes you want to eat (apart from the pasta). As they brought us the bill, they also brought us some nice little biscuits to eat. They were not particularly tasty, but it was a nice gesture.

Date: 03/ 02/ 15
Price for 2 people: £114.17
Location: Marylebone

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Il Baretto
43 Blandford Street W1U 7HF
United Kingdom
Il Baretto Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3.5